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Oil and gas employers must consider other skilled workers to fill shortfall

16th September, 2011

Employers should start considering employing people from other energy and engineering sectors if they are to successfully fill the increasing number of jobs being generated in the oil and gas industry in Scotland, according to Hays, the recruiting expert.

The comments come as the sector continues a steady recovery, generating a number of new technical and engineering posts. However, there is currently a shortage of people with the necessary skills and experience to fill the posts, caused partly by the lure of better paid positions overseas, combined with a lack of new engineering graduates.

According to Graeme Fyfe, director of Hays’ Oil and Gas division in Scotland, employers will need to compromise on non-essential aspects, take a much broader view of their skills requirements and also ensure they have a long-term strategy to address the issue with an investment in training and development.

“The good news is that energy projects that were previously on hold are now being reinstated and offshore fields which reduced production are coming back online,” says Fyfe. “But there is currently a serious shortage of people with the rights skills and experience to fill the posts that are being generated. This applies across the board, but the pinch point is in mechanical and project management roles. Almost without exception, our clients are looking for skilled project engineers who tend to be at the heart of any manufacturing process – but they simply aren’t available.

“There isn’t time to train them or wait for the next influx of graduates, so in the meantime employers should take a more strategic approach and consider if people from other industry sectors could fulfil these jobs, albeit with some additional learning. For example, we have recently placed a project manager from construction into a manufacturing role in subsea systems and equipment. Another candidate with experience in a heavy forged products environment has relocated to Aberdeen and is now working for a company that manufactures offshore equipment.”

According to Fyfe, people who work in construction, defence, automotive and other large complex engineering industries are often already working to the high standards that are required in the oil and gas sector. They therefore have many transferable technical and project management skills. This is more cost-effective in the longer term, he believes, than opting to offer higher salaries or delaying projects.

“There needs to be a balance between encouraging more people into science and engineering and employers being much more strategic in their forward planning. Not only is there a shortage of new talent but a ‘brain drain’ is causing many of our skilled engineers to relocate overseas at a critical time when we need the right people in place to grow the industry.”

For further information and to access jobs visit www.hays.co.uk/oil-and-gas

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About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 30 June 2011, the Group employed 7,620 staff operating from 255 offices in 31 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2011:
- the Group reported net fees of £672 million and operating profit** of £114 million;
- the Group placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 190,000 people into temporary assignments;
- 31% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 33% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 36% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
- the temporary placement business represented 54% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 46% of net fees;
- Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.

For further press information please contact:
Sally Masterson
Masterson Media, Edinburgh
T. 01875 615007
M: 078 998 12254
E. sally@mastersonmedia.co.uk

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